Nelson has become one of the better number two centers in the league under Barry Trotz, Arthur Staple of The Athletic reports. With Trotz at the helm, Nelson has put up back-to-back 53-and 54-point seasons and may have hit the 30-goal mark if last season wasn't truncated due to the pandemic. The Islanders are strong down the middle with Matthew Barzal (unsigned), Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Nelson. Sure there are teams with a stronger center or two, but as a group, this is one of the strongest positions on the team. Nelson will likely stay with Josh Bailey and Anthony Beauvillier even if Barzal were to remain unsigned and miss the beginning of the season. It is expected that Pageau would be ticketed to move up to play with Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle if that situation were to arise. The Islanders would prefer to have as few disruptions as possible and don't want to fix what isn't broken, and the Nelson line may actually be their best.
Nelson scored a goal on two shots in Sunday's 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay in Game 4. Nelson added one to his personal highlight reel midway through the second period, showing good strength on the puck high in the offensive zone to create space before sniping a shot past Andrei Vasilevskiy. Unfortunately for Nelson and the Islanders, Tampa Bay responded just 15 seconds later with the first of four unanswered goals. Nelson's goal was his ninth of the postseason, tying him for the team lead and putting him one behind league leader Bo Horvat.
Nelson scored the game-winning goal and added an assist in Friday's 5-3 win over the Lightning in Game 3. Nelson set up Anthony Beauvillier for the Islanders' third goal of the contest. The two reversed roles to regain the lead with 3:25 remaining in the third period. Nelson's tally was his eighth of the playoffs, and his third game-winner. He's added nine assists, 50 shots on net, 31 hits and a plus-6 rating in 19 games.
Nelson is expected to be in action versus Tampa Bay in Game 3 on Friday, Brian Compton of NHL.com reports. Nelson left Game 2 with an undisclosed injury and missed a period before returning to the bench. After racking up 15 points in his first 16 postseason contests, the center is still looking for his first point in the Eastern Conference finals. If the Isles are going to climb out of the 2-0 series deficit, they will need Nelson to rediscover his scoring touch soon.
Nelson (undisclosed) returned to the Islanders' bench for Wednesday's Game 2 against Tampa Bay, Andrew Gross of Newsday reports. Nelson left the game in the first period after getting hit from behind by Alex Killorn, but only missed a period before returning to action. Now back with the team, he'll resume his usual role as the team's second-line center and on the power play.
Last 7 Games
|3 Year Avg||77||23||24||47||7||3||1||4||533||547||138.5|